Adam Lanza has shocked the world. Besides the public outcry for tougher gun control laws, many guesses have been made about the reasons behind his actions. I heard that one newspaper even speculated that his mother aimed the gun at him in their home before the mass shooting took place, which led us to ask if Adam’s mother had killed him or did he kill his mother? Then, there was a blogger who did a blog post (which went viral), claiming that she was Adam Lanza’s mother as she has a son with a mental situation. Some are even guessing that Adam Lanza actually cleverly “planned” the shooting, so it was not his mental condition that drove him to commit the senseless act. One observation which struck me most was that he had “destroyed” his computer before the attack.
However, I personally feel that Adam’s senseless act could be attributed to two key reasons and these are only my guess. Firstly, his family condition of his parents’ broken marriage and secondly, he could have been playing a violent game on the internet.
What I really want to deal with today is how the internet has infiltrated society and “engulfed” us. We get restless or rather, rest just can’t find its place in us. We do find ourselves checking the internet on our smartphones all day, be it in a meeting, in the subway or even having a meal. This is no good. The effects the internet have on us are subtle and it often times, attacks our mind, i.e, we just can’t be still. Every hour, every minute, every second, we are doing something, I mean, our mind is “busy”, be it playing the electronic game, checking the latest news or replying a tweet.
This could very well be a fact in today’s society – the internet is controlling us.
Let me have a show of hands now. How many parents are exasperated with your children’s obsession in the electronic device, be it the computer, the laptop, the iPad or the smart phone? How many traditional parents wonder how your children ever study the way they do, by just looking at the computers, when you have been brought up the “pen and paper” way? How many parents have to scream at your children to have their dinner or put their socks in the washer when they are totally engrossed in the internet? Do you feel like you are “pulling” them or forcing them to “break free” from their constant addiction?
I want to make this observation in the capacity of a professional writer on parenting issues – the electronic device and/or the internet has captivated the children, the teenagers and the young adults to such an extent that it fills their minds and their lives. This is not healthy and there must be intervention.
Intervention? Yes, definitely, but easier said than done. This is made worse by the fact that as parents, we too, are constantly, on our iphones, email, facebook, twitter etc. Breaking free from the seemingly harmless electronic device is a huge challenge. Without the internet, we end up feeling so restless, don’t we? The attachment to the electronic device must be moderated.
I am not suggesting that we let go of technology nor am I saying that we give it up totally. However, if we do not want the smart phones, the electronic device or the internet to control our children’s mindset, behaviour or lifestyle, then start a diet on the internet and electronic device today. Implement this diet when your children are still little, or as soon as you have a chance to.
For older children, you may not want to “force” it on them. You may suggest going for an outing together or having a meal together but strictly no checking on smart phones during these moments of “bonding”. Make a deal with them.
Of course, let me highlight that it can be a uphill task, painful process. Imagine getting a drug addict to get off his habit? Well, I am not exaggerating but this is the task we have today.
Dear parents, remember, start the internet/electronic device diet early, start it while your children are still young and start it while you still can. Don’t let the electronic device/internet manage you and your children, instead take control now.
All the best in your endeavours!
Founder and CEO, Channel Education